P&G go for marketing gold at Rio Olympics

With less than 100 days until the Rio Olympics, it’s not just athletes who are preparing to go for gold. Marketing heavyweights are competing for their own gold, marketing gold that is.

Lets take a look at P&G’s chances of winning gold in the category of integrated marketing communications (IMC).

Strong: P&G’s Rio campaign video

First off, what is IMC?

One concept of IMC is where ‘the company carefully integrates its many communications channels to deliver a clear, consistent and compelling message about the organisation and it’s brands’ (Armstrong et al. 2012 p. 378). However Kliatchko’s (2008) construct of IMC proposes a more sophisticated model made up of two elements, IMC as an audience driven business process and the interplay between four pillars of IMC. The four pillars being stakeholders, content, channels and results.

While different concepts and definitions can be debated, there is a consensus that IMC in its most basic form is consumer focused and designed to ensure that a consistent brand message is communicated to the audience at all relevant touch points.

Consumer focus

P&G puts mums centre stage in the newest instalment of their ‘thank you mum’ campaign, ‘strong’. P&G cleverly link the Olympic games and their brands through the insight that ‘behind every athlete is an amazing mom’ (PG 2016). Marc Pritchard, global brand building manager at P&G states ‘through our campaign, we invite everyone to join us in saying ‘Thank You’ to moms for the role they play in raising strong children’ (PG 2016).

P&G spoke to 14,000 mums worldwide to help shape the campaign (AdAge 2016). This approach fits with Kliatchko’s (2008) theory that companies must obtain a deep understanding of the needs, desires and behavioural patterns of their markets.

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Mum at front and centre of the Rio campaign


P&G’s messaging is not only consistent across all relevant brand touch points (see supporting images), it also builds on previous Olympic campaigns, all of which are centered around acknowledging mums (PG 2016).

Furthermore, Armstrong et al’s. (2012) IMC definition requires that the message be compelling. We must also consider the interplay of Kliatchkos (2008) construct, specifically the interplay between content and results. This affirms that the messaging must also be effective in ultimately influencing behaviour.

To achieve this result P&G use emotion. Research into advertising and its effects on consumers found that ‘emotional marketing helps in building long term loyalty based relationships with customers’. (Ahuja 2012, p. 19). Applying Cramphorn’s (2006) research findings that feelings, not reason, are the dominant determinant of human behaviour, confirms P&G’s use of emotive messaging will likely have a positive effect on results.

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P&G impact emotions


With 4 billion consumers worldwide served by P&G brands, this campaign is about reach.

P&G’s selection of event sponsorship is the centerpiece of the campaign. Returning to Kliatchko’s (2012) construct we also see a relationship between channel and results. Research into Olympic advertisers, shows the stock prices of firms that ‘both advertised and sponsored the Olympics, outperformed the stock returns of firms that advertised in these Olympic telecasts but were not official sponsors’ (Yelker, Tomkovick and Pennington, p. 39, 2012). This research validates P&G’s selection of event sponsorship as a viable channel.

While P&G have adopted a digital first strategy, television will be a key channel during the games. Kotler and Keller (2012) acknowledge television as the most powerful advertising media with high reach and the ability to dramatically portray brand personality and other intangibles. This assertion combined with the 9 channels identified in figure 1, further supports and validates P&G’s reach strategy and ability to communicate emotive messaging.

P&G Channels

Figure 1. P&G’s Rio campaign channels

 Can P&G win gold?

While this analysis is brief, it would be reasonable to assume that P&G has every chance of winning marketing gold. P&G are clearly consumer focused, chosen channels fit with their reach strategy and emotive content, and the message is consistent and clear with the power to influence consumer’s behaviours.

The gold goes to…

Blog by Chris NoonanWordPress Username: cnoona, email: cnoona@deakin.edu.au


Ahuja, J 2012, ‘A Study On Advertising And Its Effects On Consumers: Emotional Vs. Rational Advertisement’, International Journal of Diversity, Vol. 2012, Iss 1, 2012

Armstrong, G, Adam, S, Denize, S & Kotler, K 2012, Principles of Marketing, 5th Edition, Pearson, Sydney, Australia.

Cramphorn, S 2005, ‘How to use advertising to build brands In search of the philosopher’s stone’, International Journal of Market Research, Vol. 48, Iss 3, 2005

Kliatchko, J 2008, ‘Revisiting the IMC construct a revised definition and four pillars’, International Journal of Advertising, 2008

Kotler, P & Keller, K 2012, Marketing Management, Global edition 14, Pearson, Essex, England

Yeller, R, Tomkovick, C & Pennington, J 2012, ‘The Alchemy of Olympics Advertising & Sponsorship: Turning the Games into Gold’, Journal of Management Policy and Practice, Vol. 13, Iss 2, 2012

Image & Video:

Strong: P&G’s Rio campaign video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ3k6BFX2uw

Mum at front and centre of the Rio campaign https://www.instagram.com/proctergamble/

P&G Impact emotions https://www.facebook.com/proctergamble



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